Borderlands curanderismo : folk healing in the Rio Grande Valley
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This study examines the ways the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas has been a unique haven for the Mexican and Mexican American folk healing system of curanderismo, as well as other informal approaches to healthcare. I argue that this trend in inherently connected to the emergence of Tejano identity in the Rio Grande Valley, which has deep connections to notions of sovereignty and self-sufficiency in the borderlands. My research provides a brief history of the South Texas region and the formation of Tejano identity. This identity formation is considered in relation to the multiple modes of traditional and informal healthcare practices continuously practiced in the region, despite the region’s recent surge in medical development. Further, it suggests contemporary models for community engagement and graduate medical education that, if implemented, could serve the Rio Grande Valley’s population (which is currently over 90% Latino) in innovative ways. Most importantly, this M.A. report exposes aspects of the region’s historically insufficient healthcare systems based upon one local woman’s oral history.